“Spare the rod and spoil the child.” Well, the liberal community doesn’t like that – they prefer a more permissive approach to child-rearing. But in the old world, the rod was a symbol of authority and protection – and those were good things.
In the 23rd Psalm at the end of verse 4, we read, “Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.” As the shepherd cared for his sheep there were two tools of his trade that brought a measure of comfort to the sheep – the rod and the staff.
The Hebrew word for “rod” is the word for “a stick; or a club.” It is also the word for a king’s scepter – the symbol of his authority. Now in the case of a shepherd’s rod, it was more than a symbol of his authority. It was a functional tool by which he exerted his authority. The rod was usually a club about two-feet long. It was heavy on one end, having been carved from a knot of a tree bough, or the enlarged base of a sapling. The shaft of the rod was then shaped to exactly fit the owner’s hand.
Philip Keller says of the rod, “The shepherd boy spends hours practicing with this club, learning to throw it with amazing speed and accuracy. It becomes his main weapon of defense for both himself and his sheep… The rod was, in fact, an extension of the owner’s own right arm. It stood as a symbol of his strength, his power, his authority in any serious situation.”
Protecting the sheep is one of the important functions of the shepherd, and that is what the Lord does for us. The rod of His Word is the demonstration of His authority to overcome all manner of evil. The rod of His Word even corrects us when we go astray. We too, are comforted by His rod.
Don’t despise the chastening of the Lord. He does it for our good. Now, isn’t that comforting to know?